There is a constant flow of newcomers revitalizing French cinema with their originality. Whether they make what we usually call “documentary” or “fiction,” they often question this distinction as well as that between filmmaking, art, activism or essay. Their creativity is a little-known treasure in France, where these films are rarely noticed by the industry, the awards and the mainstream media, and even less noticed outside of French borders. This program introduces nine of these singular gems.

This series has been curated by critic and programmer Jean-Michel Frodon with support from the Harvard Film Archive.


Staying Vertical (Rester vertical)

Saturday, March 18th at 7PM

Staying Vertical is a tale where in cycles of birth and death, desire and creativity take startling forms. Director Alain Guiraudie shines as an unpredictable storyteller whose main tools are not words but bodies—young men, young women, very old men, babies, animals—all of them watched with a vibrant attention, in their nudity, their fragility, their strength and their magic powers.


Suite Armoricaine

Sunday, March 19th at 7PM

This tale of a year in the lives of a professor and a student takes place at a university in Brittany—between two generations, between the dreams of youth and various adult trajectories. Director Pascale Breton combines coming-of-age chronicle and fairytale to subtly question the way we manage to live together or do not: as couples, as friends, as community, but also together with our memories, and with our fantasies.


Remnants of Madness (Ce qu’il reste de la folie)

Sunday, March 26th at 5PM

This film takes its place within the fertile genre of documentaries dedicated to madness. But it transforms that genre because of its location, a Senegalese asylum near Dakar. Joris Lachaise, the director, cameraman and editor, takes advantage of the complexity of a situation that lies at the intersection of what we name madness and what can only be termed misery, of different local religions and beliefs, including what we call “science.”


Neither Heaven Nor Earth (Ni le ciel ni la terre)

Introduction by Jean-Michel Frodon
Friday, March 31st at 7PM

This is a war movie—a real one. This is a ghost story—a real one. This is an artist’s film— a real one. Telling the story of a squad of French soldiers in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan during the recent war, the acclaimed young video artist and photographer Clément Cogitore manages to merge heterogeneous ideas of cinema into an incredibly convincing, and sometimes frightening work.


Portrait of the Artist (Le dos rouge)

Introduction by Jean-Michel Frodon
Sunday, April 2nd at 4PM

Strange and funny, this movie tells the mysterious encounter between a director (played by filmmaker Bertrand Bonello) and an art historian (Jeanne Balibar). He intends to make a film about monstrosity in painting; with seduction and irony, she guides him towards her own monstrosity, as well as to the discovery of extraordinary canvases, some of them very famous and others not at all.


Rules of the Game (Les règles du jeu)

Sunday, April 9th at 4:30PM

The film traces the series of steps that young jobseekers are supposed to learn in order to find work. As the documentary follows four such job candidates and those who train them, a much richer story emerges. The need to find work, the learning of the codes of expected behavior, the employers’ demand for submission go far beyond the technical necessities of the job.


A German Youth (Une jeunesse allemande)

Friday, April 14th at 9:15PM

They were young and they wanted to change the world. They were revolutionaries, so they became… filmmakers. In the early 1960s in Germany, those who would become the leaders of the Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) included filmmaking as part of their activism. Fifty years later, the documentary maker and film essayist Jean-Gabriel Périot draws from this historical context an essay film using archival footage to cast a different light on the 60s youth uprisings in Europe.


La Sapienza

Saturday, April 15th at 7PM

Eugène Green explores the resources of classical art and knowledge, confronting very old practices with a contemporary world full of people of various ages, as well as various languages: visual, musical, spoken. From Paris to a Swiss lake and, finally, Italy, he takes his viewers on a road trip inspired by a love affair with architecture, but which is in fact an inquiry about beauty, wisdom and dignity.


A Young Poet (Un jeune poète)

Sunday April 16 at 7pm

The young poet of the title is the main character, a teenager who experiences the highs and lows of love while trying to find traces of a major French bard, Paul Valéry. In the city of Sète by the Mediterranean Sea, Valéry lies in his grave; meanwhile, a very attractive local girl jumps and smiles and jokes and drinks. The young poet has a long road in front of him that includes both the girl and the grave, and maybe more.


About Jean-Michel Frodon:

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "jean-michel frodon"Jean-Michel Frodon (born in 1953 in Paris) is a journalist, critic and historian of cinema. In 2003 he became head editor of the journal Cahiers du cinéma. He has also written for numerous other journals of cinema. In 2001 he founded L'Exception, a think tank about cinema. Jean-Michel Frodon has been teaching at Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Ecole Normale Supérieure, currently teaching at Sciences Po Paris.

Click here for more info.

Harvard Film Archive 24 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 02138

Contemporary French Alternatives at the Harvard Film Archive

When
From March 18th to April 16th
Where
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

There is a constant flow of newcomers revitalizing French cinema with their originality. Whether they make what we usually call “documentary” or “fiction,” they often question this distinction as well as that between filmmaking, art, activism or essay. Their creativity is a little-known treasure in France, where these films are rarely noticed by the industry, the awards and the mainstream media, and even less noticed outside of French borders. This program introduces nine of these singular gems.

This series has been curated by critic and programmer Jean-Michel Frodon with support from the Harvard Film Archive.


Staying Vertical (Rester vertical)

Saturday, March 18th at 7PM

Staying Vertical is a tale where in cycles of birth and death, desire and creativity take startling forms. Director Alain Guiraudie shines as an unpredictable storyteller whose main tools are not words but bodies—young men, young women, very old men, babies, animals—all of them watched with a vibrant attention, in their nudity, their fragility, their strength and their magic powers.


Suite Armoricaine

Sunday, March 19th at 7PM

This tale of a year in the lives of a professor and a student takes place at a university in Brittany—between two generations, between the dreams of youth and various adult trajectories. Director Pascale Breton combines coming-of-age chronicle and fairytale to subtly question the way we manage to live together or do not: as couples, as friends, as community, but also together with our memories, and with our fantasies.


Remnants of Madness (Ce qu’il reste de la folie)

Sunday, March 26th at 5PM

This film takes its place within the fertile genre of documentaries dedicated to madness. But it transforms that genre because of its location, a Senegalese asylum near Dakar. Joris Lachaise, the director, cameraman and editor, takes advantage of the complexity of a situation that lies at the intersection of what we name madness and what can only be termed misery, of different local religions and beliefs, including what we call “science.”


Neither Heaven Nor Earth (Ni le ciel ni la terre)

Introduction by Jean-Michel Frodon
Friday, March 31st at 7PM

This is a war movie—a real one. This is a ghost story—a real one. This is an artist’s film— a real one. Telling the story of a squad of French soldiers in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan during the recent war, the acclaimed young video artist and photographer Clément Cogitore manages to merge heterogeneous ideas of cinema into an incredibly convincing, and sometimes frightening work.


Portrait of the Artist (Le dos rouge)

Introduction by Jean-Michel Frodon
Sunday, April 2nd at 4PM

Strange and funny, this movie tells the mysterious encounter between a director (played by filmmaker Bertrand Bonello) and an art historian (Jeanne Balibar). He intends to make a film about monstrosity in painting; with seduction and irony, she guides him towards her own monstrosity, as well as to the discovery of extraordinary canvases, some of them very famous and others not at all.


Rules of the Game (Les règles du jeu)

Sunday, April 9th at 4:30PM

The film traces the series of steps that young jobseekers are supposed to learn in order to find work. As the documentary follows four such job candidates and those who train them, a much richer story emerges. The need to find work, the learning of the codes of expected behavior, the employers’ demand for submission go far beyond the technical necessities of the job.


A German Youth (Une jeunesse allemande)

Friday, April 14th at 9:15PM

They were young and they wanted to change the world. They were revolutionaries, so they became… filmmakers. In the early 1960s in Germany, those who would become the leaders of the Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction) included filmmaking as part of their activism. Fifty years later, the documentary maker and film essayist Jean-Gabriel Périot draws from this historical context an essay film using archival footage to cast a different light on the 60s youth uprisings in Europe.


La Sapienza

Saturday, April 15th at 7PM

Eugène Green explores the resources of classical art and knowledge, confronting very old practices with a contemporary world full of people of various ages, as well as various languages: visual, musical, spoken. From Paris to a Swiss lake and, finally, Italy, he takes his viewers on a road trip inspired by a love affair with architecture, but which is in fact an inquiry about beauty, wisdom and dignity.


A Young Poet (Un jeune poète)

Sunday April 16 at 7pm

The young poet of the title is the main character, a teenager who experiences the highs and lows of love while trying to find traces of a major French bard, Paul Valéry. In the city of Sète by the Mediterranean Sea, Valéry lies in his grave; meanwhile, a very attractive local girl jumps and smiles and jokes and drinks. The young poet has a long road in front of him that includes both the girl and the grave, and maybe more.


About Jean-Michel Frodon:

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "jean-michel frodon"Jean-Michel Frodon (born in 1953 in Paris) is a journalist, critic and historian of cinema. In 2003 he became head editor of the journal Cahiers du cinéma. He has also written for numerous other journals of cinema. In 2001 he founded L'Exception, a think tank about cinema. Jean-Michel Frodon has been teaching at Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Ecole Normale Supérieure, currently teaching at Sciences Po Paris.

Click here for more info.

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